I know the following statement is not earth shattering, but: I love to travel! I hope you weren’t too terribly shocked. Hopefully you were already sitting down, or were able to quickly move to a safe place. No head injuries allowed. As much as I love to travel, there are just some things that really get old. After the latest irritant, I just needed to do a travel bitch. Please feel free to share yours!
I generally enjoy flying, aside from unplanned long airport waits and “modern” airport terminals that don’t have outlets for charging your electronics. Minor things. What really gets me going, though, is when I find a total kick ass fare just to see it get doubled or tripled by the time they finish adding on all the taxes and extras. I’m flying internationally. There’s a good chance I’ll have baggage. Stop charging me extra and just roll it into the freakin fare! And charging for a boarding pass. Really? It would be different if that was optional, but since every airport I’ve ever been to requires it to get past security . . .
No bathrooms. Look, if it’s an hour or so ride, fine. But if it’s a 4-hour or more trip, chances are someone’s going to need to pee. I hate having to dehydrate myself just to survive the trip without wetting my pants. Especially since lack of fluid intake drastically increases the likelihood I’ll get to deal with kidney stones yet again. The buses in Mexico and Colombia (WiFi and a personal entertainment system!), though, get a major tip of my hat. As does the long-range bus we took to go from Guayaquil to Lima! While we’re on it, though, TURN DOWN THE VOLUME! on the overhead music and/or movie. Yikes!
Umm, okay I can’t complain here. Although, right now I could really go for some bacon and good cheese.
One thing I appreciate about traveling in the States is that when you pay for a room in a hotel you pay by the room, not the number of people. Charging me for 2 adults when I’m sharing a bed with my small child is a bit over the top. Can’t you just charge, maybe, a couple of extra dollars or something? You’ll have to wash the sheets anyway. At least I hope you will. (Yes, I’ve had my share of unwashed sheets while traveling.) And since you don’t serve breakfast, it isn’t like you’re losing too much on the extra mini me.
The Absolutely Most Irritating
Touts, you suck! I get this is your living. I can appreciate that. When I’m walking through a market, I understand that you want to call out to me to get my attention in the hopes that I’ll buy something. But, dude, when I say “no thank you” in the local language, could you please just accept that? Following me and continuing your pitch will not earn you a sale. Guaranteed. And FYI, we don’t like being grabbed.
Locals, I understand that in many countries we visit we are almost rich by comparison. I understand that what I just paid for breakfast may equal 2 days’ wages for you. I’m aware of that and respect it. It’s why I will almost always try to buy my groceries, etc., from you rather than a big chain store or large super market. It’s one of the reasons I almost always choose small food stalls rather than the more safe-appearing restaurants and why I prefer renting a place rather than getting a room in a hotel. I’m trying to put money directly into your pocket whenever I can, but please give me some respect, too.
Please don’t stop me when we’re walking the dog around the neighborhood to try to get me to visit the local museum (in the hopes that I’ll buy you some tea), especially when I’ve told you no at least five different times in the last month. No, I’m not going to buy you cigarettes.
And please tell your darling little children that coming to greet me and shake my hand followed by asking me for money or candies is actually turning me into a grumpy visitor. I realize that some of my fellow travelers have created this problem, but I’m more inclined to buy your friendly little ones bonbons when they’re being friendly to my son and being kind to the dog. When your cute kid with the big smile starts yelling “F**k you!” after I’ve smiled and kindly informed them I won’t be giving them coins or sweets, they aren’t increasing their chances the next time they see me. I’m starting to see why that’s the only English they know, though.
We like to stay in local neighborhoods to get a feel for what life is like, to see the joys as well as the challenges of a place. I have learned so much from you and have changed to become a better person because of those experiences. I don’t want the sterile, made-for-tourist experience, but you gotta stop treating me like I’m a walking [insert local currency] symbol, especially when I’m not in a commercial area. I don’t like dreading every time I see you walking in my direction, especially after 4 weeks in the same location.
Let’s just be neighbors, okay? Heck, I might even invite you in for some tea or offer to pay you to teach me how to prepare the local cuisine. I’d much rather buy fassa from you than go all the way into town. Respect swings both ways. I’m doing my best to hold up my end. How about you throw some of that in my direction now.
What are your travel annoyances?